Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mike makes meat: mmmmyummmm!

Ok, so I’m not much of a cook but when winter rolls around I often crave comfort foods such as roasts and stews. I would much rather have dinner magically appear in front of me. But once in a while I will make an attempt at tackling a recipe. Last winter it was beef stew, but 5 hours and 50 dollars later it was done and sadly lacking in depth and flavor.

Fast forward to last week: while reading an article in the current issue of Cook’s Illustrated (Best Beef Stew, Jan 2010) I was inspired by an in depth explanation as to why their test kitchen chose ingredients to maximize the flavor profile and complexity of this beef stew. And it seemed like a perfect recipe to adapt for use in my new pressure cooker. With recipe in hand and a good sense of determination, I set out to make amends with last years flop. When I got back from the supermarket I discovered that the four pound cut of Chuck Eye sitting in front of me was pre-sliced: not what the recipe called for. After a five minute reconsideration break and a glass of wine from the bottle bought for the stew, I rolled up my sleeves, put my reservations aside and moved onward.

I have to admit I was a bit intimidated. Not only was this my first time using a pressure cooker but also the first time making this recipe, while adapting the cooking time for the pressure cooker. I searched online for the suggested cook time, keeping the depressurization period in mind and it averaged at about 30 minutes in total. So, in the pot went all the ingredients. The pressure lid and the heat went on, and then I waited, impatiently. But a mere half hour later, I released the pressure on the lid, let it cool down for a bit and gave the stew a go. Success! Not only was using the pressure cooker so much easier than I expected but it cut my cooking time down by about an hour, with very satisfactory results. The stew was well received by those who tried it and now both the Best Beef Stew recipe and the Fissler Blue Point Pressure Cooker will have a permanent place in my kitchen.

Fissler Foodie Mike

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"Pure Gadget Luxury"!!!

Check out this gift guide video featuring the Fissler CookStar Induction Pro, plus a lot of other great gadgets. I like how she talks about how it keeps the kitchen cool. Did you know that 2009 has been the year of the foody geek, thanks to Julie and Julia?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New Blog: Pressure Cooking with Lorna Sass

Our friend and Very Important Fissler Foodie Lorna Sass has hit the blogosphere. Over at Pressure Cooking with Lorna Sass, the legendary Queen of Pressure Cooking is posting everything you ever needed to know about using your “pc,” as she affectionately calls it.

Those new to “pc” cooking should head straight for the About page, which features a video of Lorna explaining how she came to reign over pressure cooking. (Lorna may be a queen, but she’s equal parts down-home just folks. To wit: there’s a Facebook group named after her. Become a groupie at Lorna Sass is my Homegirl – Pressure Cooker Users Unite.)

Beginning and experienced cooks will find joy aplenty in the wide variety of recipes Lorna has posted. If you think they may be complicated and time-consuming, think again. Using Vegan Fava Bean Mushroom Soup as an example, Lorna explains her unfussy methodology:

“I make all of my soups in the pressure cooker because when I want soup, I want it fast. To put it another way, I’m not one who enjoys hovering over the stove. No, when I’m hungry, I’m good for about 5 minutes of prep. Then, after 10 minutes under pressure and the natural release (another 10 minutes or so), I have a delicious coarsely pureed soup. 30 minutes MAX from start to finish–that’s my style.”

As author of numerous cookbooks (see next post below), Lorna possesses an inspiring repertoire of healthy, luscious recipes. Your only problem will be choosing which to cook first.

Here’s to a merry “pc” dinner, Lorna-style.